A Southern Netherlandish carved ivory cylinder

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Origin
Southern Netherlands
Period
17th century
Dimensions
11.8 x 14.2 x 12 cm

Carved in high relief with the story of Diana and Actaeon, as can be found in Ovidius' Metamorphoses. The young shephard Actaeon stumbles upon the nude Diana, who is just taking a bath with her nymphs. In surprise, she splashes water over him and he is transformed in a deer with large antlers. The unfortunate shepherd loses his ability to speak, fleds away and is later tracked down and killed by his dogs, who were unable to identify their master.

On this beautifully carved cylinder, we see the goddes and her company of nymphs startled in surprise. Also, one of her nymphs, Callisto, is found out to be pregnant. The other nymphs mock her. The other side is carved with Actaeon about to start his transformation and the dogs hat will eventually kill him. As Calliso, Actaeon is punished for giving in to sensual pleasures. 

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